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A History of Regina in Photographs


The Regina Municipal Airport was established in 1925. It replaced the Regina Harbour Airport, which was located in Lakeview on the corner of Hill Avenue and Cameron Street. The Regina Harbour Airport operated from 1919 to 1924.

It was the first registered flying field in Canada.

Drake, Earl G. Regina, the Queen City. Toronto: McClelland & Stewart, 1955.

Automobiles in Saskatchewan

The registration of motor vehicles began in Saskatchewan in 1906. No license plates were issued but owners were required to display their permit numbers on the rear of the vehicle. The province issued license plates for motor vehicles in 1912. The first Saskatchewan license plates had white numbers on a black background.

The first driving licenses were issued in Saskatchewan in 1931 for a cost of fifty cents. It wasn't until 1949 that operators were required to take a driving skill test before they were issued a license.

MacGillivary, O. A. 85 years of Saskatchewan license plates: a history of the licensing of vehicles in the "Wheat Province". Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, 1990.
Balfour, M. Motoring with the Saskatchewan Motor Club 1901-1980. Regina: Saskatchewan Motor Club, 1980.


Regina holds several firsts in aviation. In 1920, Roland J. Groome of Regina, a local Royal Canadian Air Force veteran, was issued Canada's first commercial pilot's license. His mechanic, R. McCombie, held the first aero-mechanic's license in Canada and his Curtiss JN4 was given the first registration number G-CAAA.

Regina Leader Post, June 8, 1965.
Drake, Earl G. Regina, the Queen City. Toronto: McClelland & Stewart, 1955.

Canadian Pacific Railway

The first train arrived at nine o'clock on the morning of August 23, 1882, which was also the occasion for the christening of the new capital of the North-West Territories. The Governor General of Canada, the Marquis of Lorne, in consultation with his wife, Her Royal Highness, Princess Louise, daughter of the Queen, chose the name "Regina" in honor of her mother. The general manager of the CPR, William Cornelius Van Horne, celebrated the occasion in his private railway car with Lieutenant Governor Dewdney and officials of the CPR, the Hudson's Bay Company, the land commissioner and many local dignitaries.

The completion of the national Canadian Pacific Railway occurred on November 7, 1885. This enterprise was significant in the prairies where produce had to be transported long distances to markets and necessities of life had to be imported.

Earlier that same year grading began on the first branch railway out of Regina. The Qu'Appelle, Long Lake and Saskatchewan Railroad and Steamboat Company received a government grant for a railway running from Regina to Long Lake and a steamboat navigating the length of Long Lake. Trains ran between Regina and Sussex (now Craven) and the C.P.R. eventually purchased this line. This was the beginning of a new resort area for Regina near Sussex and the proximity of the railroad allowed for the opening of Lake View Park (Saskatchewan Beach) and Cain's Point (Regina Beach).

Riddell. W.A. Regina from Pile O' Bones to Queen City of the Plains. Burlington: Windsor Publications, 1981.
Drake, Earl G. Regina the Queen City. Toronto: McClelland & Stewart, 1955.

Regina Municipal Railway

It was decided in 1910 that Regina's first public transportation system would be a public utility financed by borrowing money against future land sales. Six handsome streetcars were ordered from England. The interiors were lined with mahogany and birds-eye maple and the seats were rattan. The exterior was cherry-colored mahogany with silver trim.

The inaugural run of the province's first public transit system was from City Hall to the Exhibition Grounds and then to the southern terminal at Albert Street and 16th Avenue. Over 7000 passengers rode free on that first day. The fare was five cents per trip after that. During its first two years the system grew to 30 miles of track and 34 streetcars, employing up to 150 people.

In 1947, the system began its conversion from tracks to tires, which saw the eventual replacement of all streetcars with trolley coaches - electric cars with overhead wires and with rubber tires. The last streetcar ran on September 11, 1950.

Disaster struck on January 23, 1949 when one of the most destructive fires in western Canada destroyed the car barns, seventeen trolley coaches, nine gasoline streetcars and nine wooden cars.

City Council renamed the Regina Municipal Railway the Regina Transit System on Sept. 4, 1950. Trolleys continued to be used exclusively until 1955, when the first diesel-powered buses were introduced. Buses slowly replaced trolleys allowing freedom of routing to any street. The last trolley ran on March 5, 1966.

Hatcher, Colin K. Saskatchewan's Pioneer Streetcars: the story of the Regina Municipal Railway. Montreal: Railfare Enterprises, 1971.
The Story of Regina Transit (brochure), 1986.

Steamboats in Saskatchewan

Steamboats once traveled the Saskatchewan River regularly between Lake Winnipeg and Edmonton. Back in the 1880's most of the freight was Hudson's Bay Company merchandise and supplies for settlers; soldiers were transported during the Riel Rebellion.

A coal-burning steamship called first The Lady of the Lake and later the Qu'Appelle traveled on Last Mountain Lake, commonly known as Long Lake. The steamboat was owned by the Wm. Pearson Land Company of Winnipeg and was brought from Eastern Canada in 1908. It had been cut in half and shipped to Valeport, north of Craven, on two railway flat cars. It was used primarily for transporting grain from Northlands at the northern tip of Last Mountain Lake to Valeport and the railway lines. The steamer was later renovated to accommodate passenger service and sailed from the southern end of the lake to Regina Beach and north to Arlington Beach.

The beached Qu'Appelle was burned near Saskatchewan Beach as part of the celebration of the end of the war in 1918.

Saskatchewan Archives
Folklore, Summer 1984.

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